Inter-Research > DAO > v81 > n2 > p109-117  
Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 81:109-117 (2008)  -  DOI:

Reduced Lepeophtheirus salmonis larval abundance in a sea loch on the west coast of Scotland between 2002 and 2006

Michael J. Penston*, Colin P. Millar, Ian M. Davies

Fisheries Research Services Marine Laboratory, 375 Victoria Road, Aberdeen AB11 9DB, UK

ABSTRACT: A survey for planktonic sea louse larvae was carried out in Loch Shieldaig, Scotland, between 2002 and 2006, and spanned 2 successive production cycles (Cycles 1 and 2) at a local Atlantic salmon Salmo salar L. farm. The vast majority of the caligid copepodids recovered were Lepeophtheirus salmonis; however, the methodology was unable to determine the species of the caligid nauplii. Greatest densities of nauplii were found at the sampling station adjacent to the salmon farm, and larval densities were low during the fallow period of both cycles. Peaks in nauplius densities occurred around the same time in the 2 cycles, but the peaks were significantly lower during Cycle 2 than Cycle 1. Lepeophtheirus salmonis copepodid densities varied temporally, but not spatially. During most of Cycle 2, copepodid densities were significantly lower than those recovered during Cycle 1. Numbers of gravid L. salmonis at the local salmon farm correlated significantly with densities of louse nauplii and L. salmonis copepodids in the water at time lags of 0 and 1 wk, and 1 and 2 wk, respectively. This survey demonstrated a reduction in densities of L. salmonis larvae in the plankton (an indication of L. salmonis infectious pressure) between the 2 cycles and indicated that the farm was an important source of L. salmonis larvae. The application of anti-louse treatments using emamectin benzoate reduced the numbers of gravid L. salmonis at the farm, and this was the main factor influencing the apparent reduction in L. salmonis infectious pressure in the loch between cycles.

KEY WORDS: Lepeophtheirus salmonis · Sea lice · Larvae · Salmon farm · Scotland

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Cite this article as: Penston MJ, Millar CP, Davies IM (2008) Reduced Lepeophtheirus salmonis larval abundance in a sea loch on the west coast of Scotland between 2002 and 2006. Dis Aquat Org 81:109-117.

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